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Exploring the Mysterious Pluto System

Photo by NASA

The mission took ten years. The data traveled billions of miles. Now BYU students can take a closer look at the outer reaches of our solar system at BYU’s 2016 Quey Hebrew Lecture.

Dr. John Spencer, a scientist from the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in Colorado, will be speaking about NASA’s recent mission to Pluto at this year’s Quey Hebrew Lecture. His lecture titled, “New Horizons Explores the Pluto System,” will take place on Thursday, March 17 at 7:00 PM in room W111 of the Benson Building.

NASA launched the New Horizons space probe, about the size of a piano, in January 2006. The probe’s primary objective was to explore the Pluto system and Kuiper, the asteroid belt beyond Pluto’s orbit. The probe made national headlines during the final months of 2015 when the first high-resolution images of Pluto arrived at Earth.

The data from the New Horizons mission is still being downloaded. As it arrives piece by piece, even some of the brightest minds in astronomy are baffled by these new discoveries.

SWRI is one of two institutions responsible for the construction of the New Horizons probe. Members of the Department of Space Studies at SWRI, such as Dr. Spencer, are still heavily involved in tracking the progress of the mission.

The Quey Hebrew Lecture is held each year in memory of Quey Hebrew, who obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from BYU. After graduating, Hebrew became a prominent geologist for Shell Oil Company. Shell created the Quey Hebrew Lecture shortly after Hebrew’s death in 1980.

This lecture is open to the general public.  Please arrive early, because seating is limited.